The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer

After El Patron, the sinister Lord of Opium, finally dies after 140 years of ruling his drug empire, Matt, El Patron’s clone, finds himself the new ruler of the country. At first, Matt finds the new power exhilarating – no one can bully or abuse him ever again, and now he has wealth enough to do whatever he wants, including ending Opium’s drug involvement. But the challenges of ruling Opium soon catch up with him, and Matt must work with unlikely allies and battle unforeseen enemies (including the deceased El Patron) in order to end El Patron’s malicious legacy.

This one is the sequel to Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion. I have to say that I wasn’t all that impressed. I’ve heard great things about the first book, but I was unable to read it before starting Lord of Opium. Plot-wise, I feel like Farmer did a good job of filling me in on what happened in the first book, but friends I’ve talked who did read House of the Scorpion first tell me that the plot fill-ins in the second book are too much and annoying. Also, having not read the first book, I felt emotionally detached from the characters. I knew how I was supposed to feel about them, but I just didn’t. What were meant to be big emotional moments fell flat. Generally, I found the book to be anti-climatic, as big events would happen and I would just feel…meh. However, the technology is really cool, and Farmer’s imagination to come up with this stuff is amazing! I’ve heard excellent things about the first book (House of the Scorpion won three book awards), so maybe read it first and then give this one a try. Or just read this one — it’s possible to take it as a stand alone.

Rating: 3/5

For full analysis (include flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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